Glamorous State of Mind and Perfume

When most fashion magazines have spreads of Easter egg colored couture, my most glamorous look features faded black jeans and a Zara puffy jacket, a dreadful thing that sheds copious amount of feathers. Then there are my layered outfits, and I don’t mean tastefully put together layers of chiffon and cashmere suggested by Vogue. In the Ukrainian countryside, where spring is still tentative and the heating costs astronomical, we layer by putting on as many pieces of clothing as possible while still retaining the ability to lower our arms. I even sleep in a layered ensemble that includes tights, pajamas and a red sweater made by Miu Miu many years ago, but I betcha Miuccia Prada wouldn’t recognize it as one of her own now. Occasionally, I even do vintage by combining my grandfather’s track suit bottoms with my great-grandmother’s boucle jacket, a hideous look but perfect for whitewashing the cherry trees.

perfumes-spring-glamour1

While I love dressing up (and indeed overdressing; I wouldn’t think twice about wearing a turquoise Betsey Johnson dress to the most staid of occasions), I relish the chance to dress purely for comfort. I enjoy dispensing with concerns of well-selected outfits or worrying about my state of elegance according to some current fashion standard. In my grandmother’s village, my standard is the garden, or rather my ability to work in it without getting cold, wet or overheated. If the roses can be pruned and the apple trees whitewashed in comfort, the rest doesn’t much matter.

What I don’t set aside is a glamorous perfume. Fashion designer Jean Patou called his fragrances “invisible couture”, and as the most intimate of adornments, scent is the most powerful. A few drops can create the ambiance you seek, make you travel in time, or even in my case, give an instant dose of glamour.  Why on earth should I care about not looking exactly like a cover girl when I’m trailing Mitsouko behind me? Plus, nothing is more perfect for collecting last year’s leaves than this autumnal golden peach chypre.

When I’m looking for a glamorous perfume in this context, I want something not just elegant and alluring but also fun. A fragrance with many twists and turns to delight me throughout the day also fits the bill. One of the best in this category is Neela Vermeire Mohur, a dark rose with such a thick accord of sandalwood and incense that it could be cut with a knife.  What saves Mohur from being too heavy is radiance, an ambery glow from within.

While we’re talking about big and opulent perfumes, I should mention Guerlain Nahéma, Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower, and Yves Saint Laurent Opium. All three offer lots of glamour via different fragrance families: floral oriental, white floral and classical oriental. By Terry Rouge Nocturne is my most recent discovery, and it likewise suits the brief. It’s an opaque rose underpinned by dark musk and vanilla balsams. Rouge Nocturne has a retro glamour aura—you can imagine it on the nape of a Hollywood starlet’s neck, right below her ‘40s style tresses, but it retains its bright character and doesn’t end up as old-fashioned powder.

Glamour, of course, is much more than vintage Hollywood and red lipstick, and there is another category of fragrances I love—polished, understated, but high impact compositions. Here I consider dry woods, chypres (blends of dry woods and mosses), crisp ambers, and irises. Since iris in perfumery is not a classical floral, but rather a type of green wood (the essence that comes from the plant’s rhizomes), I think of it as a category of its own. Many consider iris to be a haughty, intellectual note, best suited for occasions like art gallery openings, during which the audience sports outfits by Belgian designers—not too different from my layered garden outfits–and discusses the difference between the Vienna and Munich Sessions movements over champagne. As I wear Serge Lutens’s Iris Silver Mist while weeding the strawberry beds, I realize that it’s closer to nature than artifice. The same earthy, rooty aroma emanates from my soil-caked fingers as from my perfumed hair, with a romantic whisper of violet. I suddenly feel spring in the air.

Dry woods and chypres share much in common, especially their elegant characters, and many of my current favorites fall into this category: 10 Corso Como, Cartier Déclaration, L’Artisan Parfumeur TimbuktuEtat Libre d’Orange The Afternoon of a Faun, among others.  A thoroughly modern family of dry ambers, made possible by novel aroma-materials, is a welcome addition to my glamorous fragrance wardrobe. For instance, Narciso Rodriguez’s Narciso is a transparent amber shot through with rose petals and cedar branches. The fragrance is abstract, contemporary and trendy without being trite. It’s also approachable, long-lasting and pleasing from top to bottom. Similar in spirit is Burberry Brit Rhythm for Women, with lavender as the main accent.

apricot blossoms

Of course, there are times when even perfume is superfluous. As I stand under the apricot tree, watching the silky white petals break out of the crimson red buds—nature is the greatest couturier!—and transform the grey landscape into a Japanese watercolor, I feel a thrilling sense of discovery. I bring my face close to the branch and inhale. Apricot blossoms smell of honey diluted in linden tea, with a drop of milky almond. It’s a cold, fresh smell, but so alive that I understand why my Slavic ancestors venerated the earth and all it bears.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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237 Comments

  • Marsha: That was such a beautiful story! April 27, 2015 at 7:14am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Marsha! The weather is warming up, so I might be shedding my numerous layers. 🙂 April 27, 2015 at 8:30am Reply

  • Michaela: Excellent, excellent article! I love your funny sleeping layered ensemble and, yes, I see what you mean 🙂 Sometimes I feel so free and comfortable with functional clothes only. My concern is color, though; it hurts if colors don’t match. I almost never forget to wear perfume, too.
    Recently I fell under the charm of a cherry plum tree in full bloom. Honey in the night cold air, unique, a scent and a picture to remember. April 27, 2015 at 7:58am Reply

    • Victoria: If I work in the garden, I really don’t care what I wear, but ordinarily, yes, even if I’m not exactly glamorously dressed, I prefer to wear either mute colors or something that doesn’t clash.

      Cherry blossoms have the most marvelous, bright scent, something that’s vaguely fruity, but also has a faint bitter almond note. April 27, 2015 at 8:35am Reply

  • Sandra: Great post! I picture you in a garden covered with dirt, carrying a basket of flowers and fruit and with a beautiful cloud of perfume around you.
    These days I am feeling anything but glamorous- as a mum to a 4 and half year old baby – I still can’t fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes and my boobs can give Dolly Parton a run for her money. These days I am sans makeup, I usually wear a hat (since I have not washed my hair or combed it before work) Goorin Bros hats have saved me- I may not have clean hair but I have a great hat!
    I always wear perfume and a scarf no matter what- even if I am running out the door. Perfume has covered up my sweat and smelling like baby puke.
    I met one of my girlfriends last year that is q cancer survivor and she showed up very glamorous and dressed up – I told her how well she looked and her comment to me was ” After cancer I never save anything for special occasions” With that thought in mind I never hesitate to wear my most expensive perfumes- Amouage is one of them. I put my FBs in a weekly rotation.
    Soon I will put my nice clothes into rotation when I can fit or if I ever can fit into the again! April 27, 2015 at 7:58am Reply

    • Victoria: I imagine you wafting gorgeous scents around. 🙂 I can just imagine how busy you must be with your baby! Totally agree with you on scarves, which are the best fashion accessory.

      Your girlfriend’s comment is a good reminder. I’m prone to hoarding and “saving for special occasions”, but I have been trying to break that habit and just make time for “special occasions” every day. April 27, 2015 at 8:27am Reply

      • The Scented Salon: There is no special occasions for me: every day is the best day for a treasured perfume. So I overspray my Spiritueuse Double Vanille and Gourmand Coquin, which are probably my two most expensive and subtle perfumes. Sometimes hard times bring out the best in us, Sandra. April 27, 2015 at 9:08am Reply

        • Sandra: I keep telling myself that! April 27, 2015 at 10:02am Reply

        • Victoria: Glamorous gourmands! April 28, 2015 at 4:29am Reply

          • The Scented Salon: Oooh, ooh I got another one: Feve Delicieuse is another glamorous gourmand. Reminds me of the discontinued Mitzah, which I love. April 28, 2015 at 12:56pm Reply

    • Karen: Great quote by your friend! April 27, 2015 at 9:44am Reply

    • solanace: I so relate to that! My personal question is: will I buy a new pregnancy swimsuit? Because now that my girl is two, mine is old and patchy, but I can’t fit my normal ones, and they were already large. Also, the good people of my city insist on giving me their seats in the subway. Heck. I should maybe do some abs… Thankfully I can count on Guerlain and Amouage, and yes, Neela, to glam things up a bit. April 27, 2015 at 10:25am Reply

      • Sandra: Good for you to glam things up! April 27, 2015 at 12:29pm Reply

      • Karen: Perhaps you’re being offered seats simply cause you look tired! We are hardest on ourselves, and I’m sure you exude beauty and glamour as you leave a scented trail of opulence behind! April 27, 2015 at 1:52pm Reply

        • Cornelia Blimber: Well said, Karen! April 27, 2015 at 2:23pm Reply

        • Victoria: That was my thought. Or perhaps, you happened upon someone was particularly gallant. April 28, 2015 at 6:01am Reply

          • solanace: You are all super nice, girls. 🙂 My pregnant-like figure does not disturb me too much, actually, since I feel like some primitive fertility goddess. But, to be truthful, I’ve been sweating at those pilates classes! Because I need my new swimsuit to be ‘civilian’, lol. April 28, 2015 at 10:45am Reply

            • Lynley: Swimsuit shopping is its own private hell, imo, along with bra and jeans shopping. I often have to try on dozens that seem cut for aliens before finally finding one that not only fits but looks good. If maternity clothes or mens clothes or anything else helps with that process, then go with it if it means you will feel better wearing it! 🙂 April 28, 2015 at 11:23pm Reply

              • solanace: I agree, Dante should have included those as circles of hell, if he knew better. Thank you for the comfort. I’ll remeber I’m not alone when I enter that cabin full of mirrors and unflatering, superbright lights that seem to have their wave lenght carefully selected to highlight imperfections. April 29, 2015 at 9:01am Reply

            • Karen: There are some swimsuit lines made by bra companies (Elomi for one), Land’s End, Talbots – all have great suits in a selection of styles/colors/sizes that will look great and you can pick something that matches your level of activity. Also, Vermont Country Store has some super cute retro type styles that would be perfect for wearing if you aren’t doing timed laps. They make me want to sip an iced tea in one of those old metal glasses that were bright colors!

              And for undergarments – bras, etc., – Lynley, if there is an independently owned shop, I am super lucky to have one nearby, then go there. You will get great service and they will have a huge selection of beautiful things in a wide variety of sizes. April 29, 2015 at 6:00am Reply

              • solanace: Thank you for the tips! I’m in Brazil, land of tiny tiny bikinis, but I’ll look for swimsuits made by lingerie brands, and for retro designs. Sounds like a good plan. 🙂 April 29, 2015 at 9:07am Reply

            • Victoria: A goddess is the key word, and you’re! 🙂 April 29, 2015 at 1:43pm Reply

      • angeldiva: Hi Solance,
        I don’t know if you are in the US. We have a catalog called, “Landsend.” They truly have the most diverse selection of bathing suits: small, separates, maternity, plus sized and mastectomy.
        There is a truly amazing way to get bargains at their online website. I believe it was called, “On The Counter.” There is a wide selection of items shown on a certain day. Then over the next (3?) days they are further reduced by 25% per day. I used to wait up until the price change in California. I would purchase: sportswear, linens, cashmere with my initials engraved, and every super chic bathing suit ever designed. All for 85-95% discounted. I would use club points, and coupons to do this. April 29, 2015 at 7:45pm Reply

    • angeldiva: All women are beautiful! And, you, Sandra are beautiful! You created a life! April 29, 2015 at 7:35pm Reply

  • Kat: I have to ask – what does whitewashing the cherry trees mean? It’s probably a stupid question but I live in a climate where only a couple of sturdy wild cherry trees blossom – and their fruits are left to the birds. I’m not a big gardener but today I checked the progress of my absolute favorites – the iris sibirica in our garden. It will still be a couple of weeks until they blossom but it’s one of the best things about summer – I love them more than roses. April 27, 2015 at 8:00am Reply

    • Victoria: It protects tree bark from overheating, especially in the winter, when the reflection from snow heats up the bark and may cause it to split. It’s an important step in climates with cold, snowy winters. Also, it makes the garden look festive. I will post photos on my FB page to show what my handiwork looks like. April 27, 2015 at 8:14am Reply

      • Kat: Thanks for the explanation, I was really puzzled by the idea of painting trees! Will check out the pics. April 27, 2015 at 8:33am Reply

        • Victoria: You whitewash with a solution of slacked lime, and you cover only about 1 meter from the ground. I strangely love the whole process, despite the fact it involves working with the lime solution. April 27, 2015 at 8:39am Reply

          • Katy: We use a winter tonic here on our Bonsai trees that is diluted lime sulfur that protects against fungus and insects. We apply this between Thanksgiving and Christmas and it also lightens bark color. April 27, 2015 at 10:42am Reply

            • Victoria: Here you can get several different kind of wash, but we usually pick the traditional kind. I had no idea that bonsai trees also need to be treated, but it makes sense. April 28, 2015 at 5:45am Reply

    • Austenfan: I was going to ask the same question, as it isn’t customary where I live. But the explanation makes perfect sense. We don’t get cold winters. April 27, 2015 at 9:37am Reply

  • orsetta: wonderful post – and it resonates perfectly with my Slavic root too! 🙂

    recently i have been re-/discovering older, mainly80s and 90s mainstream scent and i am again amazed by their quality and complexity. they also go very well with the cool spring air so I’ve been rotating between RL Safari, le Baiser de Dragon and original Fendi – opulence at its best! 😀 April 27, 2015 at 8:18am Reply

    • Victoria: Ah, it’s great that you reminded me of Baiser de Dragon. I rediscovered it recently, and after thinking of it for years as a heavy, dense perfume, I was pleasantly surprised to find it rich but radiant, with a delicious dark chocolate twist. April 27, 2015 at 8:42am Reply

    • Raquel: Original Fendi, I love this perfume but people don’t mention it often. I’d love to smell it again! April 27, 2015 at 10:30am Reply

      • orsetta: unfortunately the supply of the original and long discontinued Fendi scents is shrinking fast… I also love Theorema and Asja and was so happy when i found a bottle of Theorema in an old perfumery in Rome earlier this year 🙂 April 27, 2015 at 10:53am Reply

  • Patricia: What a beautiful article, V! Though I did have to laugh at your description of your dreadful feather-shedding puffer coat. I’d love to burn mine now that winter is over, except for fear of the awful smell of singed feathers.

    Amouage Lyric Woman has been my favorite big perfume lately, with Equistrius a well-loved understated go-to fragrance. April 27, 2015 at 8:29am Reply

    • Victoria: I really don’t like Zara in general (not least because of its questionable ethics,) and this coat is a waste of money. Now, it will do its duty in the garden and probably be eaten by mice next year. We have odd mice around here. They don’t eat apples, but they eat plastic and chew through the synthetic fabrics.

      Lyric Woman is super glamorous, as is Amouage Gold. April 27, 2015 at 8:46am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Mice eat strange things. They also eat electricity cables. Fortunately, Oscar the Cat is a good hunter. I could not kill mice myself. April 27, 2015 at 10:02am Reply

        • Hamamelis: The mice here came in through the cat flap, and (honestly!) ate their way through a bag of catfood…and my ‘Oscar’ is snoring. Fortunately my dog is quite obsesed with mice catching, like many wolves or so I am told!

          Hope you could escape the orange festivities! April 27, 2015 at 11:50am Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: What!! And that is supposed to be a cat! Well, I suppose you love him/her notwithstanding.
            Is it a cat or a tomcat? what colour? and is the name Oscar as well?

            Orangefestivities are not my cup of tea either, not interested in our royals! April 27, 2015 at 12:35pm Reply

            • Hamamelis: Yes, I love him too bits! He is a tom (well, without you know), and not called Oscar, he is not the prettiest cat known to man…but he has the cutest white ‘socks’. He is 15, so I suppose at his age mice hunting is not a requirement any longer… April 28, 2015 at 5:17am Reply

          • Michaela: Very nice story! April 28, 2015 at 4:06am Reply

        • Victoria: They ate our plastic Christmas tree! These are some urbanized mutant mice. April 28, 2015 at 5:33am Reply

  • Johanob: Happy Freedom Day to all my fellow South African Perfumistas!I slept late,did the laundry and household chores,quickly popped to the market for some fresh fruit for lunch,came back and washed my car in the glorious late-summer sunshine!Although fall is upon us and the trees start to shed leaves,we still have awesome warm days.Cannot beat Africa’s climate!So all the mundane,everyday tasks were done in my oldest jean and faded Guess golfer,wearing Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie!Lol.It’s such an uplifting,stylish fragrance,people probably thought me mad for constantly sniffing myself!I always feel glamorous and “dressed” when I wear this perfume,actually the whole Malle range has that effect on me.Invisible Couture indeed. April 27, 2015 at 8:42am Reply

    • Victoria: Happy Freedom Day! Your description of your fall sounds great, and it’s fun to read about it, especially as I under the lilac bushes which are soon to bloom.

      Une Fleur de Cassie is another fragrance I wanted to mention in my post, but I ran out of space. One of my top favorites. April 27, 2015 at 8:49am Reply

      • Johanob: Haha!And you just reminded me of a recent perfume discovery which I absolutely adore,and want a FB of ASAP!:Aerin Lilac Path!Such a pretty floral,I will hopefully have that FB before Spring in September. April 27, 2015 at 9:02am Reply

        • Victoria: Oh, so glad that it worked out! It smelled really great on my mom, and when she wore it the other day, I really thought that lilacs were blooming. But on me, it’s flat, so I guess everything is down to one’s chemistry. April 27, 2015 at 9:04am Reply

          • Johanob: Apart from the Tom Ford Private Blends,I have Perfume-loving skin luckily!(the Fords turn to vinegar on my skin,yes ALL of them!Lol!)I get a solid 9/10 hours of fullblast orris root from 28 La Pausa,if that says anything about my skin!lol. April 27, 2015 at 9:13am Reply

      • Mariann: Wore Fleur de Cassie today as well and I feel the same way. Its a new favorite flower aside from the lilacs of course! 😉 April 27, 2015 at 2:17pm Reply

        • Johanob: Well we both smell fantastic!Lol!It’s sooo much fun for me when I recognise names from comments on other blogs as well!It feels like greeting an old friend twice on one day!(saw your sotd comment on NST…lol) April 27, 2015 at 2:32pm Reply

          • Mariann: I’m starting to recognize people as well and everyone is so nice! Plus NST and Bois de Jasmin are so much fun to read. April 27, 2015 at 4:02pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’m crazy about mimosa. April 28, 2015 at 6:06am Reply

          • limegreen: Mimosas! If you haven’t yet, you really have to zip by a Diptyque counter before they decide that the limited edition is done, and smell Essences Insensees. It comes in the solid but the perfume is really gorgeous mimosa. I like it more than the L’Artisan, has more green, and lasts a little longer, too. April 28, 2015 at 10:16am Reply

            • Mariann: Thanks, I’ll have to try it, as I like the L’Artisan but it doesn’t last long. April 28, 2015 at 2:19pm Reply

            • Victoria: I can’t wait for your comments on them! April 29, 2015 at 1:41pm Reply

          • Mariann: Its was your article on mimosa that led me to try it out 🙂 April 28, 2015 at 2:16pm Reply

  • The Scented Salon: Fashion is a concept that does not intrigue me but I must always always always have my perfume. I sleep in it, wear several different ones during the day and even bathe with it (when they are not my favorites and I want them to just be gone already).

    I do love my scarves and purses though, but can’t be bothered with daily makeup. It’s a good thing too because all my extra money goes towards perfumes so I don’t have anything left for fancy clothes or shoes. I just stick to my black pants/colorful shirt and perfume ensemble. April 27, 2015 at 9:14am Reply

    • Victoria: Your ensemble sounds chic!

      I like fashion, especially as an art form–and the history of fashion or costume always fascinates me, but clothes for me are just one of the ways to express myself, and if I find my creative outlet some other way, I can easily dial down my fashion pursuits. I have a wardrobe full of basic items as well as evening dresses, which says something about me. 🙂 I prefer to put my spare money into books and travel. April 28, 2015 at 5:09am Reply

  • Betsy: I love this post, so beautifully written, and it is incredibly timely as I was just thinking about how a certain fragrance puts me in a particular frame of mind. Just yesterday I broke out Jour d’Hermes for the Spring and I had forgotten how lovely and vibrant a fragrance. Not only is it a sparkling perfume but when I wear it I feel wealthy…like I have a much more glamorous and well travelled existence. But most importantly Jour d’Hermes makes me feel happy! April 27, 2015 at 9:23am Reply

    • Victoria: The best reason to pick a perfume. 🙂 If a fragrance makes you feel happy, then it’s the right choice. April 28, 2015 at 5:11am Reply

  • Annikky: I think this must be one of my favourite posts here, ever (and I adore that picture with the buds). Despite my untiring work as the advocate for overdressing, I definitely need my comfy time. I think the more statement making stuff I wear, the more I need my track bottoms and old sweaters in between.

    And I simply love wearing glamorous perfume out of context. I always do it when I visit my mother (who literally lives in the forest). On Saturday, I was wearing A la Nuit to the Royal Greenhouses in Laeken and I was worried for a moment that it would be too much, but it as perfect. April 27, 2015 at 9:28am Reply

    • Karen: Too funny, Annikky! Yes, I, too, must be a member of your organization advocating for overdressing! Just given up and embraced it – I seem to have two styles, overdressed or complete ragamuffin. April 27, 2015 at 9:42am Reply

      • Annikky: The Global Alliance for the Promotion of Overdressing. Yes, I like the sound of that. Membership applications welcome. April 27, 2015 at 12:42pm Reply

        • Karen: Maybe it’s because I spent so much time dressed in farm or construction site clothes (worked on a dairy farm for 4 years then as a carpenter). Now, I love wearing clothes that are beautiful – and view clothing as costume to convey how I feel. It’s fun, doesn’t have to cost a lot and is another outlet to express creativity! April 27, 2015 at 1:57pm Reply

          • Annikky: I agree with everything you say and am in total awe of you being a carpenter. Incidentally, it was only yesterday that Victoria shared her carpenter fantasy scents 🙂 April 27, 2015 at 3:39pm Reply

            • Karen: weren’t the scents fun! Woods hop by the bakery! It was a lot of fun being a carpenter, 30+ years ago (!!!!). I did not grow up in a blue-collar family, was off being rebellious and am so glad I learned not just the skills but also working in such a different environment. I built our home – it’s very small and I had (lots) of help, but it’s a cool thing to have done. Other than there is a lot that needs fixing!! And I cant really get angry at the darn builder! April 27, 2015 at 6:14pm Reply

              • Michaela: Congratulations on building your home, that’s awsome! April 28, 2015 at 4:09am Reply

                • Karen: Thanks Michaela! A rather huge undertaking, and not one I’d ever take on again. April 28, 2015 at 5:49am Reply

                • Victoria: Yes, totally awesome and inspiring! April 28, 2015 at 6:25am Reply

          • Victoria: Well-said, Karen! When I was in a lab every day, I longed to wear something other than jeans, plain sweater and a lab coat. But even if I wanted not to dress well, I wouldn’t be able to. I have a fashion obsessed mom, who buys clothes for me (and now, she started shopping for my husband, who being 6’2” and slim can’t find a European brand of shirts to fit him.) April 28, 2015 at 6:02am Reply

            • ElenavL: Sounds like my husband. Hugo Boss slim fit works really well for him. But they do cost an arm and a leg, so do wait for sales 🙂 May 4, 2015 at 11:12am Reply

              • Victoria: Ha! That’s the same brand that fits mine well, but the shirts are too expensive. So we enlist my mom’s private shopper services. She’s great at finding bargains. May 4, 2015 at 11:58am Reply

        • angeldiva: Hi Annikky!
          Please sign me up for membership in the G A P O !
          Love the little photo, too, Blondie! April 29, 2015 at 7:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: You see, if I work from the Paris office, I basically have no choice but to dress up, but when I work from home, my yoga pants and t-shirt outfits are more common. On the other hand, I like to mix things up. Writing a report on the benzoin crop rotation in Laos while wearing a Betsey Johnson dress is in a separate category of fun. (I can’t work in pajamas or dressing robes, by the way, unlike some writers I know; writing is work for me, so I need to be totally put together before I start).

      With perfume, you can create your own context. But A La Nuit doesn’t feel too grand for me, since it smells so naturally of jasmine. April 28, 2015 at 5:16am Reply

      • Karen: As a teen I had a Betsy Johnson skirt – this is 40+ years ago when she was a new designer. How I wish I still had it, my fingers are always crossed that it will be unearthed in an old trunk at my mom’s. Purple felted full skirt, with maybe flowers?? Would pair well with my new En Passant! April 28, 2015 at 5:48am Reply

        • Victoria: Fingers crossed! I love Betsey Johnson, and the whimsy of her pieces, colors, textures are really something. I have 3 or 4 of her dresses, which are also fit perfectly. Still very sad that her house is no more. April 28, 2015 at 6:28am Reply

          • Karen: I don’t even know what I’d do if I found it since there’s no way it would fit, but just to see it again would make me happy!

            She was a really creative designer! April 29, 2015 at 6:03am Reply

            • Victoria: Then I hope you find just for that reason! April 29, 2015 at 2:03pm Reply

  • Bonnie: Comfy dressing? I know of no other kind! Jeans & sneakers – yes!!!!!! Today, at my desk (clad in grey jeans & white sneakers), I am indulging in the sensuous delight of the YSL Black Opium EDP I put on when I got up, layered with J.R. Watkins’ Hand and Body Lotion in Coconut Milk & Honey that I just refreshed my hands with. I guess that for me these are my essential comfy scents, that make my personal space so soothing I can keep calm regardless of what crises the day might bring… April 27, 2015 at 9:46am Reply

    • The Scented Salon: Yes, scents really do keep one more calm and comforted through critical times! April 27, 2015 at 10:00am Reply

      • Patricia: I had a T-shirt made for me that read:
        Keep Calm
        and Wear Perfume
        🙂 April 27, 2015 at 4:50pm Reply

        • Annikky: 🙂 Love this. April 27, 2015 at 5:55pm Reply

          • Karen: I want one! April 27, 2015 at 6:15pm Reply

        • Michaela: The perfect T-shirt! 🙂 April 28, 2015 at 4:10am Reply

        • limegreen: I saw a t-shirt that said:
          “OK, BUT
          FIRST COFFEE”

          We should have one:
          OK, BUT FIRST PERFUME April 28, 2015 at 9:57am Reply

          • Karen: Yes! April 28, 2015 at 3:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: Goodness, talk about luscious! I love the top notes of Black Opium, and I wish they had a version with more of that and less of cotton candy. It’s a delicious perfume. April 28, 2015 at 5:17am Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: Victoria,
    I loved this post as well! I am on the same wave length–never follow the fashion but love and wear perfume at all times. Perfume has been a source of comfort and joy for me as long as I can remember–as well as music. I can live without most things except perfume and music. April 27, 2015 at 9:48am Reply

    • Victoria: I’d add literature to this too. Can’t agree more! April 28, 2015 at 5:18am Reply

      • Karen: Fun thread – what are life’s essentials? Hmmm, I will add homemade bread to the list (and fresh strawberries)! So, taking a break from reading a wonderful book – one of Freya Stark’s for me, thus combining reading and travel, getting a slice of fresh bread with Il Souve si il Vento playing while wearing a treasured perfume! April 28, 2015 at 5:54am Reply

        • Victoria: Oh, that requires its own thread! But yes, I’d also add tea, lemons, bread and chocolate. 🙂

          Which Freya Stark’s book are you reading? April 28, 2015 at 6:35am Reply

          • Karen: How could I have forgotten chocolate! Reading/rereading Ionia. She is, for me, one of the most inspiring people – her life, writings, how she truly traveled so much really on her own. I love so many things about her writing – the poetic feel to it, how it reminds me of how little I know (have to constantly look things up, my books are full of notes in the margins), and just her sheer enthusiasm. I believe for her 80th birthday she rafted down the Euphrates! April 28, 2015 at 3:21pm Reply

            • Victoria: I haven’t read Ionia, so it goes onto my list. I recently re-read Winter in Arabia, and I fell in love again with Stark’s writing. The travel writing is a genre I like, but I especially enjoy reading about the women adventurers. April 29, 2015 at 1:57pm Reply

  • Austenfan: When I lived in France, which is a long time ago, I lived in a caravan for a year. Which was absolutely fine. Student rooms were too expensive and I love(d) being outdoors. Besides I wasn’t the only student doing this. Even though I stayed only 30 km north of the Mediterranean, nights could be very cold with frosts right until mid May. I remember vividly the fantastic outfits I came up with to sleep in. Flannel pajamas, with a woollen sweater topped off with an oversized cardigan, and ski socks of course. I wore far more layers of clothes at night than I ever did during the day 🙂

    Your wonderful story about your clothing arrangements brought this all back. My favourite line has to be: “we layer by putting on as many pieces of clothing as possible while still retaining the ability to lower our arms” Excellent!

    I’ve been trying to remember whether I was already wearing perfume then. If so, it must have been Anaïs Anaïs. I got my first sniff of Paris there, but only acquired a bottle on my return. April 27, 2015 at 9:49am Reply

    • solanace: I love your story! This must have been fun. April 27, 2015 at 10:27am Reply

      • Austenfan: It was. I put a lot of weight because of the tempting nature of the local food, but I got as tanned as I’ve ever been. Picture of good health 🙂 April 27, 2015 at 10:35am Reply

        • solanace: I can imagine, all those breads and cheeses, not to mention the duck fat! April 27, 2015 at 10:41am Reply

    • Hamamelis: What a great “On the Road” picture you painted there of yourself, tanned and a bit plump in a caravan near the sea, into the wild! I think my earliest perfume was Charlie, and a Max Factor one, Blasé…LouLou came later, but I remember how that smelled very well, in what I now know is tuberose and a little bit of anise, incense and vanille… April 27, 2015 at 11:25am Reply

    • Victoria: Terrific story! I bet it was a memorable and fun experience.

      Our house doesn’t provide enough privacy, so I escaped into the clay hut in the garden as soon as I cleaned it out. It has no heating, but by then, I got used to it. Now that it’s warming up, I’m loving my space so much, I’ll be sad to leave it. I wake up to the roosters, doves, and the first sunrays. This is almost hard for believe for someone who at home has trouble getting up in the morning. Plus, it smells like hay, clay and cherry wood. April 28, 2015 at 5:24am Reply

      • Karen: What a wonderful retreat you created for yourself! There is nothing like waking up to the roosters and birds. April 28, 2015 at 5:56am Reply

        • Victoria: I have never been as productive as in that spot. Probably because there is no internet there. 🙂 April 28, 2015 at 6:39am Reply

      • Austenfan: Apart from some small day to day problems I loved living in my caravan. It’s so wonderful to feel surrounded by nature. Mind you the campings surroundings were not nearly as idyllic as your grandmother’s garden, but still, it made for a good place to stay.
        Somehow it must be so much nicer to our mind to be woken up by nature than by an alarm clock! April 28, 2015 at 6:04am Reply

        • Victoria: I remember visiting Dali’s house in Cadaques and noticing that he had a mirror built especially so that he would be woken by the first rays of rising sun. I found the idea inspiring. April 28, 2015 at 6:41am Reply

      • angeldiva: omg- I need a vacation! April 29, 2015 at 8:02pm Reply

    • Karen: How wonderful! April 28, 2015 at 3:22pm Reply

  • Karen: Beautiful, fun article! And I’m with you on the whatever works concept for outdoor/garden chores. I’m a complete ragamuffin when I’m working in the gardens – none of that elegant Capri pants and clean top look for me!

    Our lilacs are in full glory right now, and the wild cherries, dogwoods and other flowering trees are blossoming. It is interesting when you’re down in the dirt digging away, or walking around because it’s easy to see (or smell!) so many different notes. As you say, the almond like fragrance of the cherry blossoms, which then corresponds to the Turkish use of mahlab, ground driedcherry pits, for an intoxicating almond flavoring in breads/pastries.

    And why not just go ahead and wear our most beautiful, sumptuous perfumes whenever we want! Anything we can do that creates more beauty for ourselves and thereby the world is worth doing. April 27, 2015 at 9:52am Reply

    • Hamamelis: Hi Karen, I love dogwoods, I have a flowering Cornus Mas close by. The magnolia grandiflora is already past its prime, as is the camellia. And I love a new word you used: ragamuffin! Is this word used by more US native speakers to describe uhm…someone who is dressed somewhat like a scarecrow 🙂 ? April 27, 2015 at 11:38am Reply

      • AndreaNM: I think it was a American Depression-era term referring to street children – think Little Orphan Annie pre-adoption, or Spanky and Our Gang. Parents used it when I was a kid (1960s) to imply that their small children were dressed in a way that made the family appear poor – often when we came in from play, dirty. April 27, 2015 at 12:35pm Reply

        • Karen: Great explanation! Don’t know the origin (and will look it up, I am a bit of a word nerd). Have my nose buried in one wrist of En Passant, it’s love and on the other wrist Eau de Magnolia, oh dear it’s love there, too!

          Just got my Frederic Malle order of travel sprays and sample! April 27, 2015 at 2:01pm Reply

          • limegreen: Karen, yay! En Passant is so ethereal, and perfect for the spring. I wear EP all year round though. 🙂 April 27, 2015 at 3:59pm Reply

            • Karen: It has captured my heart! And I have to say Eau de Magnolia is fascinating – lots of layers and at least on me becomes a beautiful, old-school fragrance after the initial sparkly bright citrusy notes fade.

              And guess the universe is saying give Parfum de Theresa another try, as there was also a sample of it, and so I shall! April 28, 2015 at 6:01am Reply

              • limegreen: “captured my heart” — indeed!
                En Passant feels so effortless a fragrance that it was at first “challenging” for me to think about forking out the $ for a lilac “soliflore” (ha, silly me) but when I compared it to other lilac perfumes, and some are really lovely, but IMO there really was no peer for EP. It was a satisfying regret-free Paris purchase (but only after being convinced after wearing out two samples).
                Did you see Victoria’s comment below about her EP eventually turning? I’m already pretty lavish with my EP, it needs refreshing through the day, but now I’m going to spray it on my hair more often, too. 🙂 April 28, 2015 at 10:06am Reply

              • limegreen: Does the melon note bother you in Parfum de Therese? It’s sticky sweet on me and I don’t get anything else. It might be a cool weather perfume for me to sample. April 28, 2015 at 10:09am Reply

                • Karen: This is crazy, so my first P de Therese was a decant – in my last Malle order I received a sample and thought, ok, I will just give this another go. And, either this is just a super new batch (??) or who knows but it is really beautiful on. I am truly flummoxed! The sweet note sort of rises up, but then melts down.

                  But EP is really stunning – simple but with depth. It may also require at the very least a 10ml travel bottle to hold me over. Having a perfume that immediately transport you to a beautiful place – in this case an actual lilac grove, is a gift. April 28, 2015 at 3:31pm Reply

          • Adrienne: Actually ‘ragamuffin’ is used widely, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the U.S. It is Dutch and Middle English in origin, meaning ‘unkempt and in ragged clothing’. April 27, 2015 at 4:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: I can’t work lightly dressed in the garden, even when it’s warm, because I burn instantly. So, I create even more flamboyant layered ensembles than in the winter, complete with hats and scarves covering my face. Either way, the garden is not exactly a fashion runway. 🙂

      How much do I love the scent of mahlab. Actually, my grandmother uses cherry stones in cooking too, especially compotes, and of course, cherry jams. April 28, 2015 at 5:31am Reply

      • Karen: Yes, I am always searching for the perfect garden hat – must have a huge brim but not make my head hot, which seems the biggest challenge. Once summer arrives, I generally work outside from 6 am till 8, chasing the shady areas after that.

        And mahlab, once I must have used a little more than usual in some dough, and the aroma was truly intoxicating! This year I will add cherry stones to my cherry jam, thank you for the reminder! April 28, 2015 at 6:05am Reply

        • Victoria: She ties them up in muslin and then removes and drains the package well after cooking to make sure all of the almond scented juices are retained.

          I have also tried combining orange zest and mahlab in bread dough (and chocolate chips), and I’m telling you, my house smelled intoxicating for days. Who needs artificial home scents! April 28, 2015 at 6:44am Reply

          • Karen: I hot inspired after gardening and morning activities and have some rolls with mahlab baking in the oven now. It’s such a rich almond fragrance – lack the knowledge to describe exactly that quality where it feels heavier than air, but absolutely not oppressive. Like the fragrance actually is a food or thing of substance. April 28, 2015 at 3:35pm Reply

            • Victoria: Have you smelled real tonka beans? If not, I highly recommend getting some and experimenting with them. Coumarin is the main component of mahlab (as of tonka beans), and I completely agree with your description. April 29, 2015 at 1:58pm Reply

  • Bastet: I also occasionally give in to the urge to wear an inappropriately glamorous perfume for mundane tasks. In fact, this weekend I found myself dressed in yoga pants and an old sweatshirt, scrubbing the toilets, while wearing Amouage Jubilation 25. The perfume really cheered up my day of housework! April 27, 2015 at 9:55am Reply

    • Victoria: Another glamorous number that can make even the most mundane task fun. April 28, 2015 at 5:31am Reply

  • Celeste Church: What a lovely article! And I think we can all relate. I’m “dressed” now in tatty old black yoga pants, a giant sleep shirt (well it isn’t quite 7 a.m. yet) but I have on lipstick and one lovely spray of vintage Dior Poison…ready for coffee now; perfume comes first! April 27, 2015 at 9:56am Reply

    • spe: Ha ha! Perfume and lipstick can take you anywhere. I like the Guerlain lipsticks named after perfumes. These two cosmetics have always been my absolute favorites! April 27, 2015 at 11:19am Reply

      • Victoria: Same here! I adore my Samsara and Habit Rouge lipsticks. April 28, 2015 at 5:49am Reply

    • AndreaNM: Whoa! Perfume before coffee – instant quality of life. Why didn’t I think of that? April 27, 2015 at 12:37pm Reply

    • Annikky: I salute you. April 27, 2015 at 3:41pm Reply

    • Victoria: Now that’s the spirit! 🙂 April 28, 2015 at 5:32am Reply

    • Karen: You’ve inspired us all Celeste! April 28, 2015 at 6:06am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Elegance is not in clothing, but in attitude! and perfume, of course.
    I could almost smell the leafs in the garden, the earth, and the glorious perfumes you named, save Mohur which I don’t know. April 27, 2015 at 10:07am Reply

    • Victoria: I like the way you put it, and I can’t agree more!

      Mohur is from an indie brand based in Paris, Neela Vermeire. The fragrances are inspired by India, Vermeire’s home country, and they are made by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour. April 28, 2015 at 5:34am Reply

  • Pklagrange: Lovely. Spring is in full bloom here in Virginia. Today I am wearing Serge Lutens Bas de Soie. It’s perfect for this warm day with a chilly breeze and doesn’t overpower the scent of the laurels. The laurels are not beautiful plants, but for a week each year, they are my favorite plant with the scent fading in and out on our morning walk. Mostly I am in blue jeans, tee shirts and sneakers chasing after two very naughty dogs, but My perfume gives me a touch of elegance and luxury. April 27, 2015 at 10:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Virginia is gorgeous at this time of year, and I can just imagine all of the scents based on your description. The laurel shrubs are wonderfully scented. April 28, 2015 at 5:35am Reply

  • limegreen: What a great read! Partway through your description of layering different pieces of clothing, I was anticipating a perfume layering anecdote to follow. Grandpa’s track sweats would have a tough perfume analogue though!
    Glamour is in the eye and nose of the beholder. 🙂
    Just as fragrances do not “clash” in nature, colors don’t clash either. Spring is such a wonderful time, everything smells and looks inviting. April 27, 2015 at 10:22am Reply

    • Victoria: Elisa is a BdJ queen of perfume layering, and she comes up with the most amazing and interesting combos. I don’t experiment nearly as much, although whenever I try someone’s suggestion, the results are fun.

      True about spring providing the most inspiring color palette. I have been inspired by the combination of pale pinks, greys and browns for my makeup ideas. April 28, 2015 at 5:37am Reply

      • limegreen: I don’t layer perfumes much except when I wear a luscious body lotion or creme and spritz on something else. I wear Dans Tes Bras body butter almost always and discovered that no. 19 edt and Cristalle eau verte are wonderful complements. April 28, 2015 at 10:22am Reply

        • Victoria: I usually don’t get tempted by the scented body products, but Malle’s butters are amazing. April 29, 2015 at 1:41pm Reply

  • solanace: Iris is a note that has been steadly growing on me. Glamorous, for sure, but I also think of it as soft and cuddly, a gownup’s vanilla, if you will. Like a beautiful dress that is also comfy. You made me laugh comparing your gardening outfits with avant-garde couture! My hippie dress today has a few holes in it, but I like its huge orange and turquoise flowers, and think it looks edgy this post-apocalyptic way. A few sprays of Shalimar Ode à la Vanille give me the confidence to rock it! April 27, 2015 at 10:39am Reply

    • Karen: You’re just in your Steampunk fashion, it’s all the rage! April 27, 2015 at 2:02pm Reply

      • solanace: Isn’t it?! Now that I’m getting old and have a stable job, I’m letting the punk girl come through, lol. Maybe I’ll just paint my hair pink… April 28, 2015 at 10:52am Reply

    • Victoria: I do too. The cool rooty aspect tones down the powdery nuances, and it makes the note really complex.

      Belgian designers make cool clothes, but I prefer to admire them from afar (and also, the prices aren’t in my budget). April 28, 2015 at 5:43am Reply

      • solanace: I love looking at fashion shows at Style.com. These things were totally impossible to access as I was growing up, since there were no imported fashion magazines here, and I figure it was the same for you in Ukraine. But honestly, even if I won the lotto, I think I’m just to cheap to spend much on clothes. Books and perfume, on the other hand, are like crack. I could probably sell the house front door for a bottle of Mohur. If only the dealers here had it, that is! April 28, 2015 at 11:03am Reply

        • Victoria: When I was growing up, I remember flipping through German catalogs, which my mom’s friend would bring from Berlin. The catalogs featured everything, including makeup, and it all seemed otherworldly. Mostly, because clothes were so colorful. In stores in Kyiv in the 80s-early 90s you could get pretty much nothing. April 29, 2015 at 1:52pm Reply

  • Katy: A day of chores and gardening. I will be in my tatty clothes but I will wear perfume and earrings. Possibly more Pino Silvestre which is just satisfying my desire for a dry, aromatic fougere……. April 27, 2015 at 10:47am Reply

    • Victoria: You smell great!
      My mom always wears jewelry doing her chores. Actually, she has mastered the art of being dressed up while doing pretty much anything at all. I’m much more laidback in this respect. April 28, 2015 at 5:47am Reply

  • Hamamelis: Nature is the greatest couturier…what a beautiful sentence and so true. And isn’t she also the great regulator, and the great healer, and the peace bringer? I would think that is also what draws you to your Slavic roots, the simple, but rich and real life close to the earth and her rhythms?

    What a lovely picture of the little sweet violet, for sure one of the heralds of spring, Viola Odorata, they flower in the same mauve lilac purple here in my garden.

    Through the perfume blogs I discovered the portable art of perfume, but also the portable art of scarves, and bought a few second hand Hermes scarves. That has been a very worthwhile investment, and they make an outfit of the simplest clothes! I find they share a similarity with perfume, in that there is more beauty to it than you see from just the part that is visible.

    I discovered Iris in Heure Exquise, in Hiris, and now in a very glamorous perfume: Mon Parfum Cherie par Camille.

    I think your mother brought you Iris Silver Mist! It is an Iris I still have to discover, but rooty earthy, a little bit of violet and spring in the air sounds all good. April 27, 2015 at 11:20am Reply

    • Victoria: Before the leaves unfurled, our garden was covered with vivid patches of violet. It’s such a charming flower, and despite the saying, its scent is anything but shrinking.

      Aren’t scarves great! In Belgium I learned the art of tying them and wearing them in different ways. Our neighbors across the street even wear them while having dinner at home. 🙂 April 28, 2015 at 5:52am Reply

  • spe: Are there fragrances in the”dry woods” category that lean more feminine and without cumin? Thank you! April 27, 2015 at 11:24am Reply

    • The Scented Salon: How about Coromandel? April 27, 2015 at 11:49am Reply

    • Victoria: If you click on the link in the article, it will take you to that article about woods, where you will find lots of recommendations. Apart from Declaration, others I mention have no cumin and they don’t smell masculine to me. Feminite du Bois or Lauder’s Sensuous, perhaps? April 28, 2015 at 5:48am Reply

  • Edna: Living in a small village on an island in Alaska, I can thoroughly relate to the layering! In fact, we raise our grandchildren to dress in layers.
    And thank you for your beautiful memories and how they tie in with scent. Enjoy this beautiufl spring day April 27, 2015 at 12:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: My American friends would often say things like “but you must be used to any kind of cold, being from Ukraine and all that,” seeing me shiver in the draft. Ukraine is not some Arctic tundra, but regardless, we’ve grown up with the idea of layering–tights under jeans, t-shirts under sweaters, etc. So, I can relate to what you’re describing. April 28, 2015 at 5:59am Reply

  • ChristineB: Thank you for your article. I work as a gardener and have tended to shy away from wearing fragrance while I work, but must admit I am not entirely sure why, perhaps feeling it will distract me from the scents around me. But you have inspired me to experiment! Your description of the relationship of the scent of your soil caked fingers and your iris perfume is particularly evocative. April 27, 2015 at 1:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: It never occurred for me to try before, but this experience was so harmonious, I felt inspired to experiment. Plus, I’m doing so much in the garden that I have plenty of occasions to enjoys scents. April 28, 2015 at 6:00am Reply

  • brenda: Greetings – I agree with everyone’s comments about wearing a beautiful scent – no matter what kind of a day you are facing. I wear perfume every day … but am always especially certain to wear it if facing a task that is not pleasant … It lifts me up and reminds me that later that day – when evening arrives there will be time to enjoy an evening meal with my husband…either home cooked or at one of our haunts. I love to wear perfume because it is completely in my control….my choice of scent, price, occasion….and my thoughts are entirely my own as to why I chose that one…that day! Somehow clothing, hair style, footwear….feels a little more determined by circumstances – where perfume I can just look atop my high-
    boy and pick up any bottle I want. I agree strongly with the person that said perfume and music are essential….I would very much miss either. April 27, 2015 at 1:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, it’s an instant boost, an instant dose of glamour or just beauty, pure and simple. Can’t imagine a world without scent! April 28, 2015 at 6:01am Reply

  • Lauren: I definitely relate to this. I’ve been known to lounge around the house in my sweatpants and moth-eaten sweaters while wearing vintage mitsouko or vol de nuit extrait.
    Also, is that a travel size mohur extrait?? I do hope that size becomes available. April 27, 2015 at 2:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Hurray for Mitsouko! Most of older Guerlains are terrifically glamorous, but they are not difficult perfumes. They have warmth, and they are approachable. You need not dress up for them, because they do all of that for you.

      It’s just my sample, but I’d love for a smaller size to be available. April 28, 2015 at 6:05am Reply

  • Figuier: Brilliant post – I particularly love your sleeping outfit! Last November we had 10 days with no heating or hot water after our boiler broke down; I really learned the art of layering then, and as wouldn’t dry properly in the cold I had to exhume a lot of ancient clothes from my teens (15+ y.o.) to keep myself both warm and vaguely clean. But perfume standards stayed high, in the form of By Kilian Rose Oud and TF Shanghai Lily. April 27, 2015 at 2:31pm Reply

    • Figuier: that’s ‘laundry wouldn’t dry’… April 27, 2015 at 2:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, goodness! That must have been tough. We at least have some heating and hot water, although with the price of gas increasing 7 times over the past couple of months, economy was needed. Luckily, the weather is warming up.

      You and I are perfume twins, since I would also pick Rose Oud and Shanghai Lily for my glamorous occasions. April 28, 2015 at 6:08am Reply

      • Figuier: They certainly have sparkle, those two – & Shanghai Lily was discovered via your blog, so no wonder there’s correlation! April 28, 2015 at 1:05pm Reply

        • Victoria: 🙂 Happy to hear this! April 29, 2015 at 1:53pm Reply

  • Figuier: Also: now I really want some Mitsouko! April 27, 2015 at 2:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: Even the new version is fab. April 28, 2015 at 6:08am Reply

  • Heather H: Beautiful article as usual Victoria. I was laughing as I was leaving my house going to work this morning. I looked at myself in the mirror and I was wearing my biggest purple sweatpants and a long black shirt. I am pregnant and obviously I was dressed for comfort. But with my grungy sweatsuit I was wearing my diamond hoops and new diamond solitaire my husband bought for me . My jewelry made me feel a bit more glamorous and of course my beautiful perfume. April 27, 2015 at 5:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: You do look glamorous, Heather! 🙂 Paraphrasing Cornelia below, glamour is in the attitude. What perfume did you pick? April 28, 2015 at 6:09am Reply

  • Majsan: Like the Quote! April 27, 2015 at 6:30pm Reply

  • behemot: Beautiful article! I also want to wish Happy Anniversary to BdJ. I love this blog and it helped me through really tough times. Thank you so much, Victoria and other creative people behind the BdJ. April 27, 2015 at 8:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! Also, thank you for your beautiful article about the Osmotheque, Jola! 🙂 April 28, 2015 at 6:10am Reply

      • behemot: My pleasure 🙂 April 28, 2015 at 1:09pm Reply

  • Annunziata: What a wonderful post. Perfume has just seemed absolutely essential to me since my teens. What I am wearing is entirely secondary, although I cared much more when I was younger. I don’t garden, but I have spent many happy hours in barns, around horses, and I always wear perfume. I have even worn Fracas to muck out stalls. 😀 April 27, 2015 at 9:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like that attitude. 🙂

      Our Patricia wrote a great article about wearing perfumes around her horse and picking the ones that he especially likes. April 28, 2015 at 6:12am Reply

      • Annunziata: It was a good piece. I remain convinced, however, that the scent most horses prefer is a classic carrot-apple accord. April 28, 2015 at 10:14am Reply

  • Tara C: As I was reading your outfit descriptions I was thinking how your husband must be scared off by these hideous clothes, then I figured you may only be wearing them when you are visiting your family alone. LOL. 🙂

    I totally agree about wearing your best perfumes at any time – I am a natural hoarder and have to make an effort to use things up, especially things that cannot be replaced – which is basically everything nowadays, due to IFRA and reformulations/discontinuations. April 28, 2015 at 12:18am Reply

    • Victoria: My husband is not the sort to be scared off by things like badly matched clothes, and on the contrary, he is much entertained. He’s not with me right now, but whenever I come up with a particularly ahem… interesting number, I’m sure to email him a photo. 🙂

      The trouble with hoarding perfume, especially anything recent is that it spoils. I have 50 year old Guerlains in perfect condition, but I had to toss a couple of bottles of Malle, Hermes, Goutal and L’Artisan perfumes. They’re just not made well enough to withstand years of storage. April 28, 2015 at 6:17am Reply

      • Hamamelis: Is it possible to give an estimate of how long recent perfumes (like the ones you mention) will last (stored in boxes, not hot but not in a fridge or so)? Does it depend on the notes used? I remember you writing about it, but I couldn’t find it back. Thank you for answering! April 28, 2015 at 7:05am Reply

        • Victoria: I’m not sure, because I haven’t tested it rigorously. It’s just my own experience. All of my perfumes were stored in the same cool, dark spot, but Frederic Malle’s L’Eau d’Hiver, En Passant, Hermes all Jardins, Annick Goutal’s Neroli and Petite Cherie and L’Artisan L’Eau del’Artisan have turned into something musty and spicy. April 28, 2015 at 7:56am Reply

          • Hamamelis: Oh what a shame! At a first glance these seem to be light, ‘eau’ like perfumes, like the Ellena ones. I have a Goutal Eau du Ciel (old version) which I thought had turned, but I ordered a new sample to compare, and it smells the same. It just doesn’t sit well on my skin (so far). If that doesn’t change it will be a good candidate for one of the BdJ give aways. All and all more reason to wear my fragrances, especially the lighter ones! April 28, 2015 at 8:48am Reply

            • Victoria: I used to really love Eau du Ciel, but I also notice a new spicy-sharp note in it. Is that what you are noticing too? April 28, 2015 at 9:09am Reply

              • Hamamelis: Yes, spicy sharp, and even slightly cat pee like… April 28, 2015 at 9:33am Reply

                • Victoria: Yep, my impressions too. April 28, 2015 at 9:36am Reply

                • limegreen: Hamamelis — The gardening stores around here sell dehydrated/dessicated cat pee for use in one’s yard to deter mice, rats, etc.
                  You could spray your “eau de Ciel cat pee” around your cat door to discourage those cat food eating mice! April 28, 2015 at 10:38am Reply

                  • Hamamelis: Having hysterics here. April 28, 2015 at 10:47am Reply

                    • Cornelia Blimber: 😀 😀 ! April 28, 2015 at 11:22am

                    • Cornelia Blimber: Something went wrong. That was supposed to be LOL April 28, 2015 at 11:23am

          • limegreen: Panic-inducing! Victoria, how long had you had the L’eau d’Hiver and En Passant before they turned? Was it two years? Five?
            I think some of the Goutal samples I’ve gotten were from “turned” bottles because they all had the same sour smell (to smell and on skin), including Neroli, Petite Cherie and Vetiver.
            (Going off to spray lavishly…) April 28, 2015 at 9:54am Reply

            • Hamamelis: Lavishly is what is called for 🙂 and possibly an embargo on new purchases…(now that is panic-inducing)! April 28, 2015 at 10:34am Reply

              • limegreen: Hah, that’s funny, hope you were joking!
                Nah, just smaller sizes! Now that Malle has the 10 ml option, that’s all I’m getting. April 28, 2015 at 10:42am Reply

                • Karen: The 10ml bottle is genius! Let’s you explore the line, then decide if there’s something you know will be worth the 50, PoaL for me will definitely be one I want a large bottle of, and I’m curious to see how long CF will last. April 28, 2015 at 3:48pm Reply

                  • Cornelia Blimber: I bought Carnal Flower ± 5 years ago, and it is still beautiful and fresh.
                    As for Guerlain, I have Eau de Cologne du Coq of at least 10 years old, still fresh, but Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat has turned. April 28, 2015 at 4:17pm Reply

                    • limegreen: Cornelia – Thanks, good to hear that your Carnal Flower is still going strong! April 28, 2015 at 5:37pm

                  • limegreen: Karen — my first Malle love was Lys Med. and I thought it was going to be IT forever. I still love it but in the Malle range, it’s been elbowed aside by CF and EP and of course DtB. I wish I had the 10 ml option for LM and CF then. Ah, well, the mistakes of the (perfume) young! 🙂 April 28, 2015 at 5:42pm Reply

                    • Karen: Would that all our “mistakes” be so wonderful! April 29, 2015 at 6:07am

            • Victoria: Maybe, 3 or 4? I was surprised too to find it spoiled.

              Petite Cherie is known for turning, and it used to be a common complaint on Makeupalley.com. April 29, 2015 at 1:39pm Reply

              • limegreen: Thanks, Victoria! (eek! I was hoping for 10 years!) April 29, 2015 at 10:02pm Reply

                • Anka: Wow, this really is panic-inducing! That means I’ve got only 1-2 years left to enjoy L’Eau d’Hiver and some others…
                  Victoria, is it possible to write a post on this subject??? April 30, 2015 at 2:56am Reply

                  • Anka: I mean, possible for you to write (someday) a post on longevity of fragrance… April 30, 2015 at 2:57am Reply

                  • Victoria: Yes, I will be glad to write about it. April 30, 2015 at 12:10pm Reply

                    • Anka: Thanks! 🙂 May 1, 2015 at 3:36am

                • Victoria: Something about those Jean-Claude Ellena’s perfumes, I guess. April 30, 2015 at 12:09pm Reply

                  • limegreen: Ellena likes using a limited number of naturals or something. I came across a (hilarious) comment by Kurkdijian who accused Ellena of becoming an “anorexic” perfumer, the way Ellena uses fewer and fewer perfume ingredients.

                    I second the request for a post on the fragility of some perfumes! May 2, 2015 at 2:44pm Reply

                    • Victoria: I remember that comment, and it made me laugh. I admit that I love Ellena’s style, but it can get repetitive. May 4, 2015 at 6:15am

                  • limegreen: Osmanthe Yunnan is magical — if Ellena created nothing else, he can rest his laurels on this perfume. May 5, 2015 at 3:06pm Reply

                    • Victoria: This one and Bulgari Eau Parfumee de The Vert are among my favorites. The Vert is really remarkable. May 6, 2015 at 3:02pm

  • JoDee: “As I stand under the apricot tree, watching the silky white petals break out of the crimson red buds—nature is the greatest couturier!”

    Perfect turn of phrase, I couldn’t agree more! My garden is bursting with blooming iris, peony and roses. “…even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like these.” Spring is a glorious rebirth and so beautiful to watch unfurl.

    I have never taken the time to smell an iris before. But having fallen in love with both Après L’Ondée and Iris Nobile this past fall (through the advice on this blog) I took the time to smell my irises. And how amazing they are! They are like perfume just ten times better, more nuanced and delicate! I wish they bloomed all year long. April 28, 2015 at 1:26am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m wearing Iris Nobile right now, and I’m enjoying it so much. One of the best irises, for sure. It’s such a curious note, but it’s really attractive.

      Love your quote! April 28, 2015 at 6:22am Reply

  • angeldiva: Hi!
    Lovely post, wonderful imagery. I’m just so happy to have some time to participate! Today is a day to remember, and mark in my mental perfume calendar. I tested 24 Faubourg. This is love… The opening is identical to my childhood scent :Yardley- Mountain Greenery. But, then that fades , and other rainbow colors happen.
    I now have a full bottle of Jacomo- Silences. It doesn’t quite smell like #19 on me, but it’s green, has a marvelous quality , and connects my nose to many yours!
    Love my mini of Estee Lauder-Sensuous Nude, too. I’m I a newbie, or does this smell niche?
    Got a sample of Aqua di Gioia, but haven’t sprayed it’s mermaid mist on my person yet.
    I actually started the day wearing Shocking, not knowing I would be at Sephora.
    I purchased an odd perfume online because it’s discontinued, and well… odd. It’s Yohji Parfum solid. It comes in a thick plastic pencil case. The compact is metal, and is shockingly heavy! Then after 13 minutes I figured out that you slide it open into a figure 8. The , “Solid,” is like no solid I’ve ever seen. It’s bright iridescent powder! Then you brush it on your skin with a 5″ long wooden brush ( thicker than a eye shadow brush.) It smells good…metallic, some floral… Just waaaay out there, LIKE ME! I like it , and am glad to smell this historic scent that has a place at the Osthmatique. (sorry spelling) Was there ever a follow up article about the event that took place there, in France? Did I miss it somewhere?
    Well, it’s just been a great smelling day!
    Angeldiva April 28, 2015 at 2:47am Reply

    • Victoria: Wow! What a selection of great perfumes that you got to try. Thank you for sharing your descriptions. Congrats on finding Yohji Parfum, which is a rare treat.

      Now that you mention, no, we never got the follow up on the Osmotheque event. April 28, 2015 at 6:24am Reply

      • angeldiva: Hi!
        Thanks so much for validating my Yohji purchase! I’ve been trying to train my nose, and this was an opportunity to smell something historical. It wasn’t expensive, so sometimes history is enough reason for the purchase. I would love to beef up the scent, buy don’t know where to begin… April 29, 2015 at 8:26pm Reply

        • Victoria: Do you mean it feels too thin? April 30, 2015 at 12:07pm Reply

          • angeldiva: Great Question!
            The scent doesn’t project. It’s not as outgassing as I’m used to. And, it’s powder! So, I don’t know how to begin to make it more potent. And, last a bit longer…
            Given what I know about the subtle expressions and history of Japanese perfumery, maybe I should just leave it alone. The Japanese scents, and incense that I do have- they don’t come out to greet you. You have to come to them , and concentrate more to understand them.
            🙂 May 1, 2015 at 7:21pm Reply

            • Victoria: Not sure. I really don’t think that you can do anything about changing the structure and form of a perfume, other than to rework the formula. To make it last longer, maybe a layer of lotion, but that’s about it. May 2, 2015 at 10:03am Reply

              • angeldiva: Thanks! I’m going to leave it’s understated beauty intact! May 2, 2015 at 8:06pm Reply

  • Aurora: The first signs of spring are the most precious, I think, as shown in your pictures. I am so glad you can experience it in a place you love so much.

    Your sartorial adventures made me laugh, the layering to keep warm strikes a chord and, yes, perfume is even more important when our look is practical rather than elegant. Shalimar extrait makes me feel glamourous no matter the way I’m dressed. April 28, 2015 at 5:53am Reply

    • Victoria: Shalimar can make any outfit seem fabulous! 🙂

      When you’re so close to nature, as here, it’s such a pleasure to observe the subtle changes around. But one warm day, and you can almost see grass grow and lilac buds turn to flower. April 28, 2015 at 6:32am Reply

  • Natalia: I used to keep my vintage Coco eau de parfum as a “special occasions”, now it would be Back to black by Killian or Noir de noir TF or Ubar by Amouage in colder seasons and vintage Samsara or Fleur de Chine TF in spring.

    I love the jammy rosiness of the rose in the Van Cleef exclusive collection, it makes me glamorous and happy just being with it around the house ) the same feeling I have for A la nuit by The different company. April 28, 2015 at 11:47am Reply

    • Victoria: Lush, rich compositions like these ones feel glamorous to me too, especially Back to Black. Fleur de Chine is a shape-shifter, because on some days I find it an easy, approachable perfume, but on others, it reveals its vintage glamour side. April 29, 2015 at 1:55pm Reply

  • Elena: I loved reading this, and the comments. I found myself reaching for Carnal Flower recently, although I was wearing sweaty tennis clothes and my oldest warmup pants. I had a great day on the courts with my team, winning both in singles and in doubles and getting the team into playoff position (of course our league is nothing to speak of, but still) and I had to wear something that matched my through the roof confidence! It seemed only something as bold as Carnal Flower would do, and it felt great. I love wearing great perfume in the most mundane situations. You will never catch me saving anything for a “special” occasion! April 28, 2015 at 4:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: Carnal Flower is almost so perfect that it needs a basic outfit!

      The comments are all so much fun. April 29, 2015 at 2:02pm Reply

    • angeldiva: Go Elena!
      Thanks for sharing, and good luck with your team! April 29, 2015 at 8:29pm Reply

  • Caro: Beautiful, Victoria! How marvelous that you are able to keep so in touch with your roots, dear!
    Glamour and elegance come from within, but you already knew that, you are a shining example 😉

    Caro April 28, 2015 at 5:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Caro! 🙂 April 29, 2015 at 2:03pm Reply

  • Gabriela: How does Mohur compare to Une Rose Chypre by Tauer? Thanks! April 29, 2015 at 6:54am Reply

    • Victoria: To me, they’re different enough, because Mohur is heavier on woods and roses, while Tauer’s rose is earthy and mossy. April 29, 2015 at 2:06pm Reply

  • Brainfodder: Hello Victoria

    My favourite activity – gardening whilst perfume wearing!

    Mostly I’m in my garden scruffs, but I’ve been known to wander into the garden for a quick look after work, and re-emerge grubby, with wrecked shoes and plucked woollens 😉

    This week we’ve been building a nature pond, and I’ve been rotating between Eau de Celeri, Pichola, Trayee, Bombay Bling and Oeillet Bengale…. fantastic!

    I’m hoping NV will add Pichola to the 8ml Discovery Coffret – I just love the range.

    I also think Eau de Celeri may turn out to be my first go-to green fragrance… have you tried it?

    Thanks for the lovely post! April 29, 2015 at 8:07am Reply

    • Victoria: I enjoyed reading this, because I never realized that someone might do the same thing. 🙂 I’m still to try Pichola, by the way. April 29, 2015 at 2:11pm Reply

      • Brainfodder: I found Pichola to be very enjoyable and well worth a try. On my skin, it definitely needs a heavier handed spray than the other NVs (I love the initial potency of Trayee and Bombay Bling).

        I got a beautiful blend of smooth, creamy, clean, white flowers that form a close veil of scent – not too heady, not too bitingly sparkly, and with warmth injected into them – perhaps from the spices? I think its perfect when sprayed under my clothes and I catch whiffs of it. It’s introverted, but still somehow sparkling and smooth. I get a dose of a very lovely slightly creamy tuberose (I think!) and no ripe banana aspect! I tend not to wear white florals, perhaps because I prefer more less photorealistic and more abstract scents. This could be the bridge into that territory for me.

        I’ve loved every one of her scents so far, with perhaps Ashoka being the one I admire but don’t reach for very often. Pichola is a little quieter on me, but grows on me each time I wear it. April 30, 2015 at 9:04am Reply

        • Victoria: What a great review! Thank you. Pichola sounds wonderful, and I will be sure to try it soon. Like you, I like the whole line, although I wasn’t crazy about Ashoka. April 30, 2015 at 12:26pm Reply

  • Cristina: These latest posts from your home feel surreal to me as there are so many things that are so familar including the tone that reminds me of idyllic childhood books. All that juxtaposed to the love of perfume I really developed in the urban, and much later, foreign lands. It’s like a dream. April 29, 2015 at 8:29am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Cristina! Maybe, because I write them out of a hut set in the cherry garden. 🙂 April 29, 2015 at 2:12pm Reply

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